A few weeks ago, I was having a particularly bad morning when unexpectedly, the door rang. It was the Fed-Ex man, bearing a slender box. My day quickly did a complete 180. The good people at L’Oreal HIP sent me a package of makeup, ready for review! Suddenly it was the best morning ever! I’ve been wearing this stuff ever since, and I am finally ready for a ginormous review. Get ready ladies, this is going to be long and generally glowing.

I already made mention of L’Oreal’s High Impact Pigment when I expressed my fear of blush. I already planned to purchase the Blendable Blushing Creme, and I got it in Elated. Bellas, I fell in love at first blush. I applied it with my fingertips to the “apples” of my cheeks (took me a whole to figure out where exactly those were! My family is renowned for our round cheeks), and brushed some Body Shop bronzer over it.

Just like Iman’s book promised, my face looked instantly brighter and prettier. Since I got this product, I have worn it every day and gotten compliments from just about everyone! The blushing cream gets two thumbs up for sure.

I had purchased the Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss in Ingenue when I was in a fierce dark phase. It’s a deep eggplant purple that feels extra slick and smooth when worn over my every day favorite clear balm. I was sent samples of Dreamer, a dusky rose that goes on as a beautiful, rosy nude for my complexion, and Enchanting which I would describe as a mauve berry.

I love Enchanting, and lately it’s been my everyday gloss.

I already loved the glosses, but I was really pleasantly surprised by the Intensely Moisturizing Lipcolor. I got Brave, a brick burgundy and Gutsy, a rich bronze.

I haven’t bought a lipSTICK in ages. I turned over to glosses completely. In a way, I guess my fascination with glosses started when Lancome Juicy Tubes came on the market. L’Oreal HIP renewed my faith in lipstick, and I definitely plan to get more. I’ve got my eye on Fearless, but as with any lipstick purchase, I would recommend hand-testing first. Many of these colors look the same online, and that makes it hard to tell a fierce fuchsia from a bronzed berry. What attracted me to HIP the most was their fantastic range of eye shadow colors. I mean, the range is unprecedented for a drugstore brand. Ranging from $7 to $11.99, these products are just about as pricy as you’ll find at your local Walgreens. You might think, I might as well pay the extra $2 and get a MAC eye shadow instead. And you could, but

a) they don’t sell MAC at Walgreens, and

b) the L’Oreal shadows come in highly pigmented duos, with little applicators enclosed in the bottom of the package (the bottom unfolds into a compact with a tiny mirror).

Call me a sucker for packaging, but the thoughtful little details appealed to me.

I got Bright Shadow Duos in Showy, a pair of blues that match dark denim with bright azure, and Flamboyant, a bright buttery yellow matched with matte grape. The purple doesn’t pop on my skin color the way I hoped it would, but after seeing the reviews and beautiful demonstration picture on Makeup Alley, I will try again with combining these colors. But I ADORE Showy.

Like 70% of my wardrobe is either brown or blue, so much like Mimi on the Drew Carey show, I can wear blue shadow almost every day. The key with wearing these colors to work is subtlety. I’ve been applying a thin line right above my lashes, ranging from light to dark blue. FYI, blue shadow looks amazing with brown eyes, especially on brown skin!

I also got a Pure Pigment Shadow Stick in Mezmerizing, a glittering forest green that also works wonders with chocolate brown eyes. I’ve definitely gotten compliments on this color.

And to prove to you what a product junkie I am, yesterday at Target I bought one of the Shocking Shadow Pigments in Valiant, the dusky purple of my dreams. As an added plus, it comes packaged with a soft little brush. I love, love, love this color and this product.!

In addition to all of the fabulous eye and lip stuff, I was also sent Flawless Liquid Makeup in Teak and Tawny. My complexion falls somewhere outside the two, (closer to Tawny), and despite my hatred of liquid foundation, I gave this stuff a try. Bought wedge sponges and everything.

They stayed on longer than I expected, but my general complaint about liquid foundation remained unchanged – this stuff simply isn’t made for hot climates. And for someone who moved from hot-ass Trinidad to insanely humid Miami, that means that I was sweating like Whitney Houston on stage in no time. That’s never a good look. But I must say, the range of shades offered by HIP is incredible! If you’re a black woman who has had a hard time finding the perfect foundation, I am sure there’s a shade in HIP that will work for you.

Last but not least, the HIP product I’d recommend to anyone. Illuminating Highlighter. I had no idea that a product I had never heard of would transform my look so much. No wonder this stuff won an Allure Best of Beauty Award. It’s a split-container pot of creamy shimmer, one is golden blush, the other is a warmer bronze. Apply with fingers to anywhere you want more pizzazz. I have been having a blast with this stuff. I apply it to my brow bones, and over the blush. The cream dries to a powdery finish.

I used it recently to recreate the fantastic warm, bronzy look ably demonstrated by Kerry Washington on the HIP Website. The site is pretty easy to navigate, and I love that they offer sample looks at the bottom of each page, which gives a helpful guide for makeup novices. (That’s how I learned what to do with the highlighter!)

FYI, many of the HIP cosmetics are on clearance sale at Drugstore.com, so if you’re planning to buy some, act now! At most of the in-store displays I’ve noticed at Target and CVS, the selection has been majorly depleted. Obviously savvy makeup lovers have gotten hip to HIP. I totally understand why. I think the entire product line is great.

All I have to say to the HIPsters at L’Oreal is thank you for a wonderful line, and can you get to work on some brightly colored eye liners? Pretty please?

** Hellooooo, fabulous makeup and beauty product reps! Want me to review your stuff? No problem. Write to me at bella@afrobella.com.

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